Presidents Who Use The Words Innovative Or Innovation – 2015 Update

President Obama pointing at two American flags

It’s that time of year when we tune into the (You)tube and watch/listen to the president’s writers dazzle us with their verbal prowess and natural ability to use words as a catalyst for optimism (for the pro-prez crowd) and outrage (for the anti-prez crowd). Yes, it’s *always* one or the other. I’m a good, well-trained American. Aren’t you too?

Anyway, the arrival of the State of The Union Address also means it’s time for me to update my spreadsheet tracking the use of two words – innovation & innovative. I’ll update this to reflect the 2015 address when I receive the transcript, but for now, this is what I’ve got to share.

The words innovation and innovative first* appear in the 1981 State of the Union address. Since then (as of January 19, 2015) they have been used 57 times.

Innovation, 42
Innovative, 15

And every president has used at least one of the words during a State of the Union address during their presidency, some more than others.

Obama, 27
Bush (2), 9
Clinton, 8
Carter, 8
Reagan, 4
Bush (1), 1

Historically, in their State of the Union address, the Democrats use these words much more often than the Republicans.

Democrats, 75.44%
Republicans, 24.56%

I have no idea what this means. Maybe you do?

* I’m only concerned with the word use during my lifetime, so I didn’t really go too far back into history. When I reached the 1950 State of the Union address, I stopped looking. However, if you go to Speech Wars and search for either word, you’ll find that the word innovation is used 5 times between 1855 and 1904, disappears for a while, then returns in 1981. I haven’t actually looked at (searched) the transcripts to verify this. Oh yeah, if you’re looking for transcripts, I recommend checking out the American Presidency Project.

Astronauts, Pop Culture, Nostalgia

Ok, so now that I have some free time, I decided to follow up on a few emails dangling precipitously close to the edge of archival oblivion, one of which happened to be an ELLO invite. Ello’s basically the social, aesthetically pleasing bastard child of Facebook, Adbusters, and visual artists. It’s where I discovered this guy and his awesome paintings –

Scott Listfield (

At The Zoo by Scott Listfield
At The Zoo by Scott Listfield
Decline of the Planet of The Apes by Scott Listfield
Decline of the Planet of The Apes by Scott Listfield
Alien Crossing by Scott Listfield
Alien Crossing by Scott Listfield

The Tootsie Pop Question. Just How Many Licks?

If you grew up during a certain time and you had access to television or radio, the odds are pretty good that you remember the question, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” You might have conducted your own research too.

Me, not so much. I devoured Tootsie Pops within a few minutes.

Of course, for some reason – brilliant advertising? – this question has stayed with me for decades, so back in 2010 when I started researching Wolfram Alpha’s search capabilities, I thought the question would be an appropriate search query. The 2010 results were amusing.

The Center Of A Tootsie Pop Question, 2010
2010 Search Results


Fast forward five years and I’m saddened to report that Tootsie Pop research has stalled. Not much has changed in five years. The 2015 Wolfram Alpha are essentially the same, minus some slight cosmetic changes.

The Center Of A Tootsie Pop Question, 2015
2015 Search Results



Smile, Winter Is Here

Smile, winter is here! Along with the the agony of commuting over insanity paved roads, or alternatively, willingly commuting with impatient icicles stuck with mass transportation.

I’ve accepted the fact that any winter storm depositing more than 1-inch of snow will result in local transportation and news networks defaulting to a state of panic, which is funny, because this is the complete opposite state of mind for the vast majority of humanity (in the United States) between the ages of elementary school through high school. If only we could all stay home and build snow(wo)men!

And now that I’m thinking about it as I type in this “distraction-free” writing mode interface, at what point did people in the past throw in the towel and just decide to stay home from work and school?

“Yep, there’s at least 17 inches of snow out there on the roads. You know traffic’s gonna be bad, especially since those damn politicians are riding in those new carriages that always get stuck on Constitution Ave.”

I doubt that’s the story, but still, as our transportation and communication networks become more technologically complex (and robust?),  I wonder why it feels like every year it takes less and less snow to shut down the DC metropolitan area?

Probably because I haven’t built a snow fort in twenty years.


My Reading Trends And A Few Book Recommendations, Volume 6

In 2014 I read 49 “books”, which is just two shy of my goal of reading 52 books. But this year was incredibly awesome, and in order to do awesome things, I had to make a few sacrifices. Sorry books 50, 51, and 52.

What Kind Of Books Did I Read?

Of the 49 books I read, 45 are fiction (primarily science fiction) and 4 are non-fiction.  Looking over my reading list, I wasn’t too surprised to see that I read only 3 graphic novels. Those things are expensive, and since my 2012 high of 26 graphic novels read, I’ve steadily read less (just 10 in 2013). That being said, I’ve already got my eye on 3 new(ish) series I want to read in 2015. Graphic novels pair very well with coffee! Beer too.

How Did I “Read” The Books?

Of the 49 books I devoured this year, 39 were ebooks read via the Kindle app on my Nexus 7 (tablet) and Nexus 4 (phone). This was the first year I fully utilized the syncing function between different devices to maximize my reading time – on the Metro, during lunch at work, waiting at the bar for a friend, at home on the couch, in the park, and most notably, while running. Yep, that’s right. I “read” while training for the Army Ten Miler. How? Audiobooks.

I “read” 6 audiobooks this year, most of which were pretty good. The interesting thing about Audiobooks in Amazon’s ecosystem is that many of the audiobooks will sync across devices AND formats. In this way I could start the day by reading an ebook on my phone during my Metro commute to work, pick it up at lunch on my tablet, then utilizing Amazon’s Audible app, resume my “read” while jogging 7 miles after work. This is amazing.

Finally, Amazon also unleashed their Kindle Unlimited subscription plan, which certain types of avid readers (i.e., people who read a lot of ‘indie’ science fiction, romance, thrillers, or military fiction) will love. The $9.99/month subscription is well worth the cost, especially if an interesting author participates in the program.

The Demise Of Print Books

For the second year in a row, aside from my graphic novels, I did not purchase a single hardback or paperback print book. Even more interesting, excluding my graphic novels, I only read one print book that I borrowed from a work colleague. And finally, on a more somber note, despite working as a librarian, I did not borrow or read anything from my local libraries. This was not from a lack of effort, by the way. Initially, at least, I tried to find some of the science fiction I read this year in my library’s catalog. No luck.

The 2015 New Year’s Resolution (On Reading Materials)

I’d like to read at least 3 poetry books and 5 non-fiction titles.

The 2014 List Of  5-Stars



The 2014 List Of  4-Stars

As you scroll down, you’ll quickly see that this year I discovered B.V. Larson’s Star Force series and pretty much devoured all of them, as well as some of his other works. This guy alone made my Kindle Unlimited subscription worthwhile.


Graphic Novels